Hitting the Hardwood | Rookies Will Be Put To The Test Early In Camp

April 18, 2017

Mitchell Hansen
Web Editorial Associate

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With training camp kicking off in less than a week, the Minnesota Lynx will begin the journey of trying to win their fourth championship since 2011. And after last Thursday’s WNBA Draft, there will be a few newcomers vying for roster spots.

Last Thursday, the Lynx drafted guard Alexis Jones from Baylor in the first round, guard Lisa Berkani from France with their second-round selection and guard Tahlia Tupaea from Australia with the third and final pick.

The next day, Minnesota announced it traded forward Keisha Hampton to the Chicago Sky in exchange for the draft rights to forward Chantel Osahor from Washington.

Although Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said that the selections of Berkani and Tupaea may be aimed more for the future, Jones and Osahor will get the chance to prove themselves when training camp opens next week.

“Until you have a player on a daily basis, you don’t really know what you have. As far as the working on, we have to find that out,” Reeve said. “They are going to come into camp and play against some really good players from day one, so that will show itself very, very quickly. All you want, whoever it is, is to have a willingness to learn and work your tail off. If you do those two things, you have a chance to be successful.”

Reeve said she knows there is a big jump from the college to professional game, adding that the newcomers will go up against some of the top talent in the world in the WNBA right off the bat.

“When you say contribute right away, I think that’s hard for any player in this league. I know that’s what we are all looking for because we are all excited about these young prospects and you want them to contribute right away, but the reality is this is a darn tough league,” Reeve said. “I think we are a little tempered in that mindset of contribute right away. We are not in that place as a franchise, where we need that from our young players. Our focus is to make sure we have players that can be a part of our future and can grow. . .That will be something that we will see play out as we get to training camp.”

Reeve admitted that the selections from last week’s draft allows the Lynx to have more versatility within their roster this season. Something Minnesota is looking forward to taking advantage of.

“I think it’s nice for us when you have versatility and have players that can play more than one position that you effectively expand your roster. Numbers wise, we’ll be able to do more. I think that fits with us,” Reeve said. “We feel like from a roster standpoint, we have a really good balance. We’ve made some calls to some undrafted players to try and round out our training camp roster. We’ve done pretty well there.”

The Lynx kick off preseason play at 7 p.m. on May 5 against the Atlanta Dream at Xcel Energy Center. The 2017 regular season will be underway at 6 p.m. May 14 against the Chicago Sky at Xcel Energy Center.